It was going to be a big two years for agricultural robotics before COVID-19 hit our collective radar. Population growth and environmental concerns have been big drivers for those working to figure out how to feed people in the future. Meanwhile, the pandemic has only intensified concerns, as many farmers have struggled to find workers who work in the fields.
Fieldin – who made his first appearance on these pages as Tel Aviv pitch-off winner in 2016 – today announced plans to acquire Midnight Robotics. It’s definitely a good match on his face. California-based (via Israel and Australia) Fieldin works to help farmers accelerate data collection and automation. Midnight, meanwhile, retrofits tractors and other farm equipment with lidar-based sensing techniques.
Fieldin says it takes about a day to get its technology up and running. As with many of these services, the company sends a technician to the field to help on-board farmers. On the face of it, at least, it’s an easier life than existing technologies, which require farmers to buy brand new technology—something that’s cost-prohibitive for those with tight budgets.
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The acquisition will integrate Midnight’s technology into Fieldin’s existing solutions.
“Over the past eight years we have digitized hundreds of farms and more than 10,000 tractors and pieces of farm equipment – more than anyone else in the high-value crop world – and amassed a wealth of invaluable data that provides insight into best practices. farm management,” Fieldin co-founder and CEO Boaz Bacher said in a release. “By acquiring Midnight Robotics, we are helping farmers close the loop of autonomous action from insight, so they know what they need to do and execute it autonomously through a single platform.”
Midnight co-founders Jonathan Horowitz and Edo Reshef will join Fieldin as Chief Autonomy Office and Chief Technology Officer, respectively. As per the deal, both of them will also be listed as co-founders of Fieldin.